I have heard that statement so many times. When I started writing my first book in 2007, it took me all of three months to complete. To some, that might be a very short time. But believe me, I know authors who have written a book in six weeks! Regardless of where you are, you can get your thoughts on paper, and share those thoughts with the world. The main thing is to get started. Don’t procrastinate; that’s a bad word in this industry. And I want to share with you a few steps to getting your book/books published.
Before I do that, let me introduce myself. I’m Paulette Harper-Johnson: writer, speaker, life coach, and author. Since 2007, I’ve gone on and written four books--two of which are anthologies and two Christian-inspirational books which became best-sellers and award winners. My most recent book was just released, Completely Whole, a self-published text. I am also working on my first Christian-fiction book. I believe I know a little about writing, so with that said, I will share some of what I’ve learned over my few years as a writer.
The first thing you must decide is what it is you want to write about. In other words, you must choose your topic. What are you an expert in? Here are a few things to get you thinking:
1. Do I want to write about my life’s experiences?
2. What about my job or my profession?
4. Things I’ve gone through
5. What about something that interest me?
Believe it or not, there is something you have to say. It’s just a matter of deciding what it is. When you first start out, it doesn’t have to be perfect…just start journaling. As you do the research on the topic, you will become an expert in that field. Expert? Yes, expert. Don’t let that word intimidate you. An expert mainly means one who is skillful, one who has practiced, or one who is a professional in a given field or subject. I believe we all are experts when it comes to life’s experiences.
Once you have completed your manuscript, you are ready to get it edited. I would highly recommend you hire a professional editor, and in some cases, several editors. Please don’t let momma, sister, or brother do your edits. I would even recommend that you refrain from editing your own material. I know that might sound funny, but believe me, I have seen unedited books, and it does not speak well of the author. Your book is a reflection of you. Remember that! Your readers will notice how poorly your books are edited more than the story or advice you write about. Here are some examples of the type of editing you should use:
Developmental Editing- making suggestions about content, organization, and presentation. A developmental editor will help you transform your manuscript into a better book.
Substantive Editing-identifying and solving problems of overall clarity or accuracy, reorganizing paragraphs, sections, or chapters to improve the order in which the text is presented.
Copyediting (sometimes called line editing) - correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text; preparing a manuscript for the next stage of the publication process.
Proofreading- querying or correcting errors or inconsistencies that may have escaped an editor or writer, reading for typographical errors or for sense without reading against copy. The proof reader is the last stage before printing. Now you’re getting closer to having your book in your hand.
Now that you have completed the editing of your book, you will need to consider how to publish it. You have several options:
1. Self-publishing--A method of publishing in which the author does all the things a publisher does from editing to printing to distribution.
2. Traditional--Traditional publishing is the most well-known and the hardest to break into.
3. Vanity--Vanity publishing requires the author to pay the expenses of being published along with marketing.
Next, you need to decide how your books are going to get printed. Here are two links that will help you with your decision:
And finally, market your book.
Here are three places to market your book:
1. Social networking and social media
2. Virtual book tours
3. Radio and TV talk shows
Hope I’ve helped you get motivated. Enjoy your journey… it is so much fun!
Guest post by Paulette Harper Johnson, Author of That Was Then This is Now, Completely Whole and Write Now Authors Manual
Virtual Book Tours: http://writenowlit.blogspot.com/